CHAMPCAR/CART: This Week In Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing August 31, 1999 FedEx Championship Series The 2000 Ford-Cosworth Champ car engine finished its second successful test over the weekend at the road course in Sebring, Fla. Newman-Haas Racing's Roberto Moreno tested a...

This Week in Ford Racing August 31, 1999

FedEx Championship Series

The 2000 Ford-Cosworth Champ car engine finished its second successful test over the weekend at the road course in Sebring, Fla. Newman-Haas Racing's Roberto Moreno tested a pair of engines, logging race distance in both, and reported no engine related problems over the two-day test.

IAN BISCO, Vice president, Cosworth Racing, Inc. - ROBERTO MORENO JUST FINISHED TWO DAYS OF TESTNG AT SEBRING. HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THAT TEST? "The test went very well. We managed to run race-distance on two engines without any problems. Roberto was extremely impressed with the engine. Based on his two days of testing I think he is quite anxious to get a ride with a Ford team next year. Out of all the new CART engines we have produced, this new engine has run the most flawlessly in its first tests than any of the previous engines, which is extremely encouraging."

THIS HAS TO BE A HUGE ADVANTAGE FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO TRACK TEST NEXT YEAR'S ENGINE SO EARLY . . . "It is a huge advantage for us and our teams. Typically, testing new engines really starts when teams take delivery of their new chassis, which is normally November or December. This time always ends up requiring compromises because the teams understandably want to do chassis testing. Right now we are going to be about four months ahead of this so we should be able to sort any new engine problems prior to new cars being delivered. The advantage to our teams when they receive their new cars will be huge, as they will be able to concentrate on chassis set ups, etc. not engine proving. To have two tests under our belt now without any engine problems, this, with a brand new engine is a very positive sign."

NOW THAT YOU HAVE THE RELIABILITY RUNS OUT OF THE WAY SO TO SAY, WHAT IS NEXT? "The first thing we concentrated on was the top-end power range and reliability of the engine. With the successful tests under our belt, we can now begin to refine the other areas of the engine. We can now focus on beginning to maximize the performance of the engine throughout the whole range. We have been very conservative when preparing these engines thus far and have not even begun to explore the potential of what this engine is capable of."

HOW DOES THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS ENGINE COMPARE TO THAT OF THE CURRENT XD? "The performance of next year's Champ car engine, even in these very early stages of development, has already surpassed the performance characteristics, across the board, of the current XD."

ROBERTO MORENO -11- Big Kmart Ford-Cosworth - YOU RECENTLY COMPLETED A TWO-DAY TEST OF NEXT YEAR'S FORD-COSWORTH CHAMP CAR ENGINE. WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSIONS? "I was very, very impressed with the rev range of the engine. I was also impressed with how successful the engine ran. We didn't have any problems with it and were able to run all of the mileage scheduled. On the straights, the engine is as powerful as the XD and the driveability is superb. I was very impressed."

FERNANDEZ LOOKS TO RETURN AT LAGUNA SECA

Adrian Fernandez, driver of the -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth, looks to be back in the driver's seat for round 17 of the FedEx Championship Series at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Fernandez, who has been sidelined since a practice accident in Detroit which left him with a fracture of the right radius bone of his right arm, has spent his unplanned hiatus from Champ car competition focusing on his rehabilitation program in preparation for his return.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth -- YOU HAVE BEEN REALLY QUIET OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS SINCE YOUR ACCIDENT IN DETROIT. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? "I have been resting a lot. I have been talking to my doctors and that is what they have advised me to do. It's hard not being there with the team, but I have to do what is best for me right now and that is resting and working on my rehabilitation program. My arm feels pretty good right now, but I need to work on building up the strength in it again. I am planning on being in Vancouver this weekend and right now Laguna Seca looks to be my first race back. It was a real disappointment for me when it happened because we were in the middle of a championship fight. But, over the last 20 years of my racing career I have not really been injured so in those regards I am very fortunate."

GIVEN THE ARM YOU BROKE IS THE RIGHT ARM, WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING FOR YOU TO DO, STEER OR SHIFT? "It's really more of a case of building up the strength in my arm. Since I have not been able to use it as much, I have lost some of the strength in it. It is going to take some work to build it back up but, I have been working hard with my rehabilitation program and I have started to drive my kart a little bit so little by little it is getting stronger."

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT FOR YOU TO WATCH THE RACES ON TELEVISION? "It's hard. I am not use to it at all. Even if you can't compete in the race at least you like to be there with the team and help out in any way possible. These last two races I have missed have been hard to watch because I feel I should be there."

ALTHOUGH BEING SIDELINED FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS WAS NOT PLANNED, DO YOU FEEL THE TIME OFF WILL HELP YOU APPROACH THESE LAST FOUR RACES WITH A LEVEL OF CONCENTRATION AND MENTAL STAMINA THAT THE OTHER COMPETITORS WON'T BE ABLE TO MATCH? "I do. I plan on making my season the next four races. I have not raced or tested since Detroit. If I can pull a positive out of this experience it's that I will be rested and refocused and probably in the best shape mentally to tackle the last four races of the season."

WHEN YOU CLIMB BACK INTO THE COCKPIT AT LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY, WHAT WILL YOUR MOTIVATION BE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON? "My goal is to score more points over the remaining four races than anyone else in the series. These last four races are going to be my Championship."

MORENO TO SPEND AN EXTRA DAY PREPARING FOR VANCOUVER

It is said that you have to walk before you can run and that's exactly what Roberto Moreno plans to do around the Vancouver street circuit. Moreno will fly out a day early into Vancouver for this weekend's Molson Indy Vancouver to spend some extra time acclimating himself to the redesigned raceway at Concord Pacific Place.

Moreno, who last raced in Vancouver in 1997 for Bettenhausen Motorsports, sees similarities between the Vancouver street course and the one in Detroit. ROBERTO MORENO -11- Big Kmart Ford-Cosworth -- YOU RACED IN VANCOUVER TWO YEARS AGO, BUT SINCE THEN, THE TRACK HAS CHANGED SUBSTANTIALLY. HOW DO YOU GO INTO A SITUATION LIKE THAT AND PREPARE FOR IT? "You really can't do much. I will go in a day early on Wednesday and spend the whole day Thursday walking around the track, talking to the engineers, getting some help from the other drivers who have driver there like Michael (Andretti) and use the information towards out setup. I will be trying to anticipate things from what information I get from Michael what to expect from the race track when we go out for the first session on Friday."

GIVEN YOUR VAST RACING EXPERIENCE, CAN YOU COMPARE CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE VANCOUVER TRACK TO OTHER TRACKS YOU HAVE RACED ON IN YOUR CAREER? "I think that the surface grip should be the same from when I raced there in 1997 which will help. Plus, I see many 90-degree corners there as well as a couple of slow chicanes. So, for myself, I am going to base it off Detroit."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno